De Aza an X factor for White Sox
With so many Chicago White Sox performing beyond expectations, it’s easy to glance over Alejandro De Aza’s contributions this season.
It’s not as if De Aza is looking for much attention either. Even when he has big games -- like his four-hit performance against the Houston Astros last week -- he’s out the door quickly and isn’t waiting around to talk to the press. He’s rarely around his locker before games either.
De Aza has that blue-collar approach. He arrives, does his job then departs. There’s nothing fancy about the 28-year-old center field, but he has produced day in and day out for much of the year and is a key reason for the first-place White Sox’s success.
Wednesday was further proof of what he’s meant to the White Sox this season. While the White Sox did fall 1-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals, De Aza came up with two of the team’s five hits, and his teammates failed to drive him in. In the bottom of the ninth, he was left on third base.
De Aza’s teammates haven’t left him behind too much this year. When Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko are padding their RBI totals, it’s often been De Aza they’re driving in this season. He ranks tied for seventh in the majors with 44 runs.
But even beyond the runs, De Aza is having one of the better seasons among leadoff hitters. He’s hitting .308 with 74 hits, 11 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 27 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and has a .384 on-base percentage.
In the majors, he ranks 20th in average, 15th in hits, tied for 17th in triples, 12th in stolen bases and 19th in on-base percentage.
De Aza did have some early struggles, but he rose just as the White Sox began to do so in May. His averaged dropped all the way.242 on May 2, but it’s been on a steady rise since then.
De Aza has had 18 multi-hit games and has reached base at least twice in 22 games since May 2. During that time, his average jumped by 66 points and his on-base percentage by 51 points.
In June alone, De Aza has hit .410 (16-for-39) and has a .477 on-base percentage.
With the Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones and the New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson all playing center field in the American League, it’s unlikely De Aza will join a number of his teammates in the all-star game.
Whether or not De Aza cares if he’s recognized in that way or in any way, his contributions have been great. As White Sox play-by-play announcer Ken Harrelson often says about De Aza, he’s been the White Sox’s unsung hero.